I'm a Nature and Wildlife Photographer....Who shoots it all.
I like to try and develop a catchy title for my blog posts that offer a hint of what may be contained within, and hope that is what I've done for this one. I am in fact, "primarily" a nature and wildlife photographer. I tend to find that my happy place is walking in the woods or along a shoreline shooting not what humans have created, so much as what nature has provided. From crashing waves and thunderstorms, to chirping birds and mossy stones.....These are my typical muses.
But every once in a while I find myself in the lucky position to get to try something new, go someplace I've never been before, and shoot things I am just not familiar with. And this is often something that I am fortunate enough to do with Olympus, my sponsor.
Such was the case last week when Olympus flew 10 superfans (those who have been ardent supporters of the brand, and promote it through their efforts online and off) and 11 members of the Visionary Program to San Francisco for several days of photographic adventure. It was also pretty cool that those superfans also happen to be listeners to the podcast that Mike Boening and myself publish bi-monthly <---You should subscribe ;)
The purpose of the event was multifaceted. The first was to show appreciation to some of Olympus' biggest supporters by giving them one great, all expenses paid adventure, and the other was for the members of the Visionary program to not just shoot with these superfans, but to also hold our annual summit.
But for me as is always the case, the highlight was the social aspect of the event and the adventure that travel to a new destination to shoot provides. Now this is where we get to that title. The one where I mention, "shooting it all".
One of the excursion we went on with Olympus was to the Mission District in San Francisco. This is definitely not reminiscent of the sleepy lake towns of West Michigan where I can be found in the summers. This has a decidedly more "urban grit" to it. Full of vibrant colors, vibrant smells (good and bad both) and incredibly unique people. This was an opportunity for me to try and capture life in a land in which I was a foreigner.
Taking my queues from Mike Boening, the more "seasoned pro" at shooting the streets, I started looking for moments that spoke to me about where I was, and how different it was than back home in Michigan.
A great place to stop and shoot while in the Mission District is Clarion Alley. This alley has an incredible variety of graffiti along its length. From your typical art, to images of a more political nature. All of which lends itself to the use of vibrant in camera color settings, and some, even benefitted from a black and white treatment.
The experience of shooting subject matter found in the streets was a great escape from my "normal", and quickly reminded me that to stay creative one must venture past comfortable and get uncomfortable from time to time. The act of learning to see something new, and capture it in a way that is expressly you, is a pretty liberating experience.
So I challenge YOU, the landscape photographer, the bird photographer, the person who prefers the delicate art of newborn photography, and so on....Get out there into the streets, face down the challenge of a subject you are not comfortable with, one you are not sure how to capture, and let your emotion tell you when to make the photo, let your heart show you those little vignettes unfolding before you can be beautiful regardless of the location.
Now go out and stare down the challenge of something new....And own it.